“Be still, Roland. Don’t move.”
His mother spoke low.
Roland pulled his energy in, trying to not be enticing in any way.
But it didn’t work.
“Dear God, no.” She trembled as the men circled her son.
One, wearing a red coat, spoke strange, garbled words they couldn’t understand, then raised a giant axe.
“Noooooo!” His mother screamed.
A sharp wind blew, and the man held his cap.
Roland was unfamiliar with pain, until now.
The blade hit his side, slicing him deep in his lower middle.
“Momma!” he cried, his conscience wild with terror.
“Fierce wind, today, eh?” one man said.
He swung again.
“Momma!” Roland sobbed as the man hacked away, teeth bared.
His mother’s noise sweltered thick.
Like rumbles the sky made when God was angry.
The man swung low. It cut him deep. Then deeper.
Then all of a sudden, he stopped feeling.
The sky changed then.
Or maybe he fell.
His mother’s voice faded. And the man, with his deep, human sounds, hoisted him on his shoulder, quite roughly, then headed away.
Roland reached out for his mother with the little strength he had. And she reached, too. But it was too late.
Roland stopped fighting, consumed by grief.
And for the first time,
Days later, Roland lay against a fence, glad to be upright.
There were several like him.
Some taller. Several fatter.
But everyone injured. And all of them bound.
Unable to be.
He was cold and hungry.
And the humans came in droves.
Peering, examining, making odd sounds. They stuck noses close to his parts.
Pulled fingers along him in very uncomfortable ways.
He suffered insatiable thirst.
And he missed his mother.
The littlest one cried, muffled by ties.
The sky changed a few more times, then humans stopped coming.
The man in the red coat stopped giving them water.
Roland was weak.
He tried to express himself, but he was falling apart.
There were only ten left, and six of them died.
The man tore down his banner, the one that faced the road.
The sky went grey, close to white.
Roland lost needles as the man lifted, slinging him over his shoulder. He carried him to the road, to toss in line with the others.
Once they were green, but now they were grey.
And as the sky went white, he remembered his mother.
And the wind blew cold.
Author’s note: Today ( 12/27/14) we drove by a roadside Christmas Tree seller. There were only a few left: small ones, bound in plastic. Cut down for nothing. I myself buy real trees, and will continue doing so. . . I just thought those trees were a little sad. Maybe a lot sad. Like, what if they knew they weren’t picked. Roland was born right then and there. *Christopher wants me to add that Roland was recycled into a children’s book.